Indo-Israel Economic Cooperation dialogue on horticulture projects held in Shillong Credit: EastMojo

Shillong: Following the Meghalaya government’s decision to collaborate with Israel to setup Centre of Excellence (CoE) on high value vegetables, an Indo-Israel Economic Cooperation dialogue on horticulture projects was held on Tuesday.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma, Ambassador of Israel, Dr Ron Malka, Meghalaya Agriculture minister Banteidor Lyngdoh and Chief Secretary MS Rao were part of the dialogue held in the city.

Sangma informed that the CoE has been setup in different parts of the country and in the NorthEast, only two CoE have been setup.

“The main objective of this dialogue was centered around putting up centres of excellence in different parts of the state. The Government of Israel along with Government of India has been setting up CoE for Agriculture and Horticulture in different parts of the country,” informed Sangma.

He added that now the objective is to expand and cover more states of Northeast.

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Sangma said they have proposed to set up 2 CoE in Meghalaya: one at Jongksha in East Khasi Hills District for vegetables and the other in East Garo Hills in Dawagre for citrus fruit. This is at an advanced stage and the government has been discussing with the government of India and with the Government of Israel.

Sangma expressed that he was hopeful that after today’s dialogue this proposal will move forward and soon complete the entire process.

“This is important because we feel that technology plays an important role in agriculture and horticulture. Keeping in mind the produce that we have in our state and because of the lack of technology and research, we are not able to get maximum benefit and profitability for our farmers. So we feel that with the support and collaboration with Israel govt which has been the leader in Agriculture technology in the world, this collaboration will go a long way in ensuring that we can help and enhance the productivity of all farmers in Meghalaya,” said Sangma.

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According to Dr Malka, they have been able to set up 29 functioning Centre of Excellence all over India. He informed that in these centres they bring in latest technology practices and advanced systems used for advance agriculture.

Adding a positive note, he said that they are ready to bring in the best experts from Israel with the latest technologies. According to Dr Malka, there is immense potential in Meghalaya, and they are planning to help the farmers of Meghalaya how to bring added value chain and shape a competitive advantage of their agricultural produce.

Dr Malka said that this is part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling the income of the farmers, adding that agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy.

Concerning the financial implications to set up the two centres, Sangma told that the discussion for setting up of the centres is at an advanced stage with the Central Government, adding that the Centre had a rough estimate of Rs 10 crore for setting up of each CoE.

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